Carlton's Dale Thomas is one of a number of AFL players whose future is up in the air.
Carlton's Dale Thomas is one of a number of AFL players whose future is up in the air.

Who’s playing for their career at your club?

With four rounds of the home-and-away season remaining, some players are tuning up for finals and others are thinking of next year.

And dozens remain in limbo as they wait to find out if they will have a contract for 2020.

As list managers start to thrash out their priorities ahead of the draft and trade period, here's a selection of players fighting for their careers over the next month.

 

ADELAIDE

Andy Otten

Richard Douglas

Sam Jacobs

Hugh Greenwood

Cam Ellis-Yolmen

 

Otten has been one of the AFL's great survivors but Saturday's game against Carlton was his first appearance for the season. Richard Douglas is 32 and has played just five games this year, while Jacobs is running around in the SANFL while his protege Reilly O'Brien dominates. Would he be better off trying his luck at a third club like Sydney?

 

BRISBANE LIONS

Ben Keays

Lewis Taylor

Matt Eagles

Sam Skinner

Tom Cutler

Nick Robertson

Ryan Bastinac

 

Rising Star winner Lewis Taylor has dropped out of the best 22 for the improving Lions, playing just five games this year. Keays (two), Robertson (four) and Cutler (three) are in a similar boat while Sam Skinner has one career game to his name, back in 2017. Reality TV winner Matt Eagles is a great story but do they need a fourth ruckman in case all of Stefan Martin, Archie Smith and Oscar McInerney go down?

 

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Lewis Taylor is trying to win back his spot for the finals.
Lewis Taylor is trying to win back his spot for the finals.

 

CARLTON

Dale Thomas

Kade Simpson

Jarrod Garlett

Josh Deluca

Matthew Lobbe

Michael Gibbons

 

Thomas is 32 but has played 17 of 18 games this year and his number stack up OK (average 19 disposals). AFL latecomers Michael Gibbons and Josh Deluca signed short-term deals and are desperate for another chance. Matthew Lobbe is back-up to Matthew Kreuzer's back-up Andrew Phillips - is he surplus to requirements?

 

COLLINGWOOD

Ben Crocker

Ben Reid

Daniel Wells

Jack Madgen

Levi Greenwood

Lynden Dunn

Max Lynch

Rupert Wells

Tim Broomhead

Travis Varcoe

Tyson Goldsack

Sam Murray*

 

A long list of uncontracted players at the Pies, including the important but ageing and injury-prone Daniel Wells and Ben Reid. Do the Pies back them in again? Ben Crocker has been given a chance at senior level the past two weeks but a total of 17 disposals and two goals doesn't scream "new contract".

 

Levi Greenwood signed a one-year deal at the end of last season.
Levi Greenwood signed a one-year deal at the end of last season.

 

David Myers is playing in the VFL. Picture: Michael Klein
David Myers is playing in the VFL. Picture: Michael Klein

 

 

ESSENDON

David Myers

Jake Long

Mark Baguley

Matt Dea

Michael Hartley

Zac Clarke

 

Former No.6 draft pick Myers has spent most of the year in the VFL, along with the other names on this list. Matt Dea has made the most out of his AFL career as a former Tiger and Bomber top-up player, surviving being cut by Richmond and Essendon (he was redrafted as a rookie at the end of last year), but this might be it. Zac Clarke was given a one-year contract as ruck insurance and has been called on in recent weeks. Has he done enough?

 

FREMANTLE

Aaron Sandilands

Darcy Tucker

David Mundy

Hayden Ballantyne

Ryna Nyhuis

Shane Kersten

 

Aaron Sandilands will be 37 in Round 1 next year and Hayden Ballantyne 32. With the Dockers almost certain to miss the finals again, surely there are younger options? David Mundy will poll strongly in the best-and-fairest but he's 34, while foot surgery may have ruined Shane Kersten's chances of a contract extension.

 

 

GEELONG

Harry Taylor

Jordan Cunico

Lachie Henderson

Scott Selwood

Wylie Buzza

Zac Smith

 

Tough call looming on stalwart Harry Taylor, who will turn 34 next season. He's not the force he once was but is still a key to the Cats' flag hopes. He's played 18 games this year, while Lachie Henderson has made just one senior appearance. Zac Smith seems to be fourth in the ruck pecking order, Jordan Cunico has battled injuries throughout his five-year AFL career and where does Wylie Buzza fit in the ruck/forward mix?

 

Is Harry Taylor part of Geelong’s plans for next year?
Is Harry Taylor part of Geelong’s plans for next year?

 

 

GOLD COAST

Aaron Young

Brayden Crossley

Corey Ellis

Harrison Wigg

Michael Rischitelli

Tom Nicholls

 

Aaron Young has squeezed the best out of himself over eight seasons at two clubs, but has played just one game this year - to take him to 99 career games. He's set to miss 3-4 weeks with a knee injury so may not get to 100. Corey Ellis has played just four games this year after crossing from Richmond, Michael Rischitelli is 33 and Harrison Wigg just keeps getting injured. Meanwhile, what has happened to Tom Nicholls? After showing promise in the ruck early in his career, he hasn't seen senior action since 2016. The arrival of Jarrod Witts hasn't helped.

 

 

 

GWS GIANTS

Brett Deledio

Heath Shaw

Lachie Keeffe

Shane Mumford

Tom Sheridan

 

Some interesting list management meetings looming for the Giants. Heath Shaw says he'll retire if he wins a flag this year while Brett Deledio is still chasing the premiership dream that cruelly eluded him in 2017. The Shane Mumford experiment has generally been a success but he had just five disposals on the weekend - how will he be travelling this time next year at age 34? Having said that, if he's not there the ruck set-up is not obvious.

 

Brett Deledio is fighting a running battle with soft-tissue injuries.
Brett Deledio is fighting a running battle with soft-tissue injuries.

 

 

HAWTHORN

Conor Glass

Darren Minchington

David Mirra

Grant Birchall

Jarryd Roughead

Paul Puopolo

Ryan Schoenmakers

Shaun Burgoyne

Teia Miles

Tim Mohr

 

Speaking of club favourites, who wants to be the one to tap premiership hero Jarryd Roughead on the shoulder? His fate seems certain but others like Grant Birchall and Paul Puopolo remain up in the air. Ryan Schoenmakers has gone through this process just about every season of his career but with no games to his name this year, this might be it. Teia Miles has played 12 games in five years (none this season). Gold Coast has flagged its interest in poaching Shaun Burgoyne - how hard will the Hawks fight to keep the 36-year-old?

 

 

MELBOURNE

Jay Kennedy-Harris

Jeff Garlett

Kade Kolodjashnij

 

Jay Kennedy-Harris may have been an emergency more than any other player this year. After just one senior appearance (and 35 in five seasons) would he get more opportunities at another club? After just seven games this year (none since Round 12) Jeff Garlett's papers appear to have been stamped. Kade Kolodjashnij is still battling concussion issues. Jordan Lewis is expected to retire but Nathan Jones will play on in 2020.

 

Jeff Garlett seems to have fallen out of favour at Melbourne. Picture: Michael Klein.
Jeff Garlett seems to have fallen out of favour at Melbourne. Picture: Michael Klein.

 

Scott Thompson showed his commitment by playing with excruciating pain last week.
Scott Thompson showed his commitment by playing with excruciating pain last week.

 

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

Nathan Hrovat

Sam Durdin

Sam Wright

Scott Thompson

Tom Campbell

 

Nathan Hrovat was dropped for Round 19 and will struggle to get a chance to earn another deal after just three senior appearances this year. It feels like Scott Thompson has been on the verge of forced retirement forever but keeps hanging in - and playing a key role. But eventually a call will have to be made to go with younger options. Sam Wright (four games this year) could find himself on the outer while the Roos will need to decide if they want to keep Tom Campbell as insurance in case Todd Goldstein goes down (or leaves).

 

PORT ADELAIDE

Billy Framton

Cam Sutcliffe

Jack Trengove

Justin Westhoff

Patrick Ryder

Sam Mayes

Trent McKenzie

 

Jack Trengove puts up good numbers in the SANFL but an AFL career seems over a decade after being taken at pick 2 in the draft. Justin Westhoff was dropped during the year, will be 33 in October and doesn't have a contract for next season. Port also has to decide how to manage its ruck stocks with Scott Lycett doing his best work solo - what does that mean for Paddy Ryder and back-up Billy Frampton? Trades haven't reinvigorated the careers of Sam Mayes or Trent McKenzie.

 

 

RICHMOND

Callum Moore

Connor Menadue

Jacob Townsend

Mav Weller

Jake Aarts

 

The Tigers offloaded a series of fringe players last season - and most have been at least serviceable at their new homes (Sam Lloyd, Reece Conca, Anthony Miles et al). Connor Menadue survived the chop but could be on borrowed time after failing to cement a spot in the best 22. Callum Moore showed exciting signs last year but seems to have been overtaken by Mabior Chol (a serious ankle injury hasn't helped), Mav Weller played the first two games but hasn't seen senior action since, mature-age draftee Jake Aarts hasn't played a senior game. Then there's premiership hero Jacob Townsend, who earned a last-minute lifeline last year via the rookie draft. He has played just one game this year (for three disposals against Geelong) but is regularly in the best in the VFL. A late-season promotion has worked before ...

 

Jacob Townsend with the 2017 premiership cup.
Jacob Townsend with the 2017 premiership cup.

 

ST KILDA

Billy Longer

David Armitage

Jonathan Marsh

Sam Rowe

Nathan Brown

Lewis Pierce

 

The Saints wrestled with their best ruck line-up for years but now the future seems clear after Rowan Marshall's remarkable breakout season. That's not good news for Billy Longer or Lewis Pierce - especially with the Saints reportedly keen on bringing in another ruckman from another club. Jonathan Marsh and Sam Rowe were recruited as ready-made back-ups but have played limited minutes (Marsh five games, Rowe none) despite a long injury list. And calls will have to be made on warriors David Armitage (age 31, two games this year) and Nathan Brown (30, 13 games).

 

SYDNEY

Daniel Menzel

Kieren Jack

Michael Knoll

Nick Smith

 

Dan Menzel was recruited to partner Lance Franklin in front of goal but that plan hasn't panned out at all as Buddy battles injury and Menzel kicks goals in the NEAFL. Kieren Jack must be near the end at age 32 (five games this year) while Nick Smith (30) has missed the year with a hamstring injury. Michael Knoll was recruited in the mid-season draft, will the Swans keep him as a last-resort ruckman when Sam Naismith is back from injury.

 

Daniel Menzel has played only three games for the Swans. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Daniel Menzel has played only three games for the Swans. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

WEST COAST

Fraser McInnes

Keegan Brooksby

Josh Smith

Will Schofield

 

Will Schofield gets called up whenever the Eagles need an injury replacement but he will be 31 in January so the premiership defender's days may be numbered if the Eagles need to clear some room on their list. Fraser McInnes has played 14 games in four years (three this year) and Keegan Brooksby has played the whole year in the WAFL even with injury worries around Nic Naitanui. Where does former Pie Josh Smith (two games this year) fit in?

 

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Fletcher Roberts

Ryan Gardner

Dale Morris

Tory Dickson

 

Another leg injury might make the list management team's decision on Dale Morris for them, but the premiership defender will go out as one of the club's all-time greats. His likely departure could create opportunities for Fletcher Roberts, but he seems a fair way back in the pecking order. Tory Dickson is nearing the end - he will celebrate his 32nd birthday two days before the Grand Final - while Ryan Gardner played straight away after being picked up in the mid-season draft before being dropped then injured. Does he get another chance?

Paul Puopolo is on a one-year deal at Hawthorn. Picture: Michael Klein.
Paul Puopolo is on a one-year deal at Hawthorn. Picture: Michael Klein.